2009 probably won't go down as one of the greatest years for popular music, but one thing's for sure: With more indie labels and DIY bands out there than ever before, and more blogs and music discovery engines (Pandora, Slacker, MOG, etc.) to guide you to them, it's never been easier to find that one absolutely amazing album that nobody else has ever heard of.
No surprise, then, that all of our critics picked more than their fair share of darkhorses this year, along with a few widely acclaimed releases that were worthy of the hype. (Seriously, if you haven't checked out St. Vincent's "Actor" yet, do yourself a favor and track down a copy now.)
Here are this year's top 10 lists. Enjoy, debate, discuss!